Re: Aging isn't a disease

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Oct 13 2001 - 02:13:04 MDT

Stencil wrote:

> "Aging isn't a disease," FDA spokeswoman Laura Bradbard said.

I've been pointing out this problem for at least the last 6-7 years.
It is a fundamental issue of perspectives. Robert Freitas deals with this
in section 1.2.2 of Nanomedicine ( -- or *buy*
the book) developing the "Volitional Normative Model of Disease" --
discussing 8 different types of disease concepts in existing practice:

1. Disease Nominalism
2. Disease Relativism
3. Sociocultural Disease
4. Statistical Disease
5. Infectious Agency
6. Disease Realism
7. Disease Idealism
8. Functional Failure

He proposes the "volitional normative" model as a way out
of the swamp seeking to move towards definitions that deal
with "optimal" or "desired" functioning -- of course these
tend to be subjective (client side) perspectives than
objective (server side) perspectives. However(!) - a "desired"
function to be an "optimal" blocker in football such that half of
the opponents you face in a single game become sidelined with
injuries is -- to me -- a questionable criteria for saying
you have a "disease" if you cannot achieve this.

If you want to *really* grab the bull by the horns consider
this -- the "gold standard" for scientific "proof" of efficacy
is a double blind random trial. So, Company X has a treatment
that retards or better still completely prevents aging. You
run an clinical trial according to the "gold standard". You look
at the results. If your treatment is successful, all of the
people receiving it are still alive. All the people not receiving
it are dead. If the treatment *really* prevents aging then
it was presumably highly immoral (not that I think I know what
that word means anymore...) to even run the trial.

Perhaps I'll give Laura a call next week and see if she can
tell me which of the 8 disease concepts the FDA subscribes to.

Double, double, toil and trouble,
fire burn and cauldron bubble...


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